The growing leader grows from the inside out. But sometimes growth opportunities go unheeded. We don’t see the connection between seemingly unconnected things.

In 1993, Belle Linda Halpern and Kathy Lubar launched a dream to combine the art of theater with the power of leadership. Their goal was to teach leaders to be better communicators through techniques they learned as professional actors and performers. Together they wrote a book titled Leadership Presence in which they discuss the “PRES” model for understanding ourselves.

Presence (P): Be completely in the moment and flexible enough to handle the unexpected (not pretentious)

Reaching Out (R): Build relationships with others through empathy, listening, and authentic connection (not looking down on others)

Expressiveness (E): Express feelings and emotions appropriately by using all available means (words, voice, body, face) to deliver one congruent message (not seeking to be impressive)

Self-Knowing (S): Accept yourself, be authentic, and reflect your values in decisions and actions (not self-absorbed)

Each of the four elements builds upon each other and contribute to establishing a healthy leadership presence.

In my opinion, most of us need to step out of our usual safe patterns. Try more openness about your intentions, feelings, passions, and values. Is this level of vulnerability too painful or risky? Then maybe consider starting with one component of the PRES model and make a goal to add the other elements as your confidence and skill grows.

As a believer, I see a connection with the words of Jesus when he says out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. Our authentic self is worked from the inside out and requires intentionality. I encourage you to explore the implications of Leadership Presence. Is there someone today (a spouse, a child, a co-worker, or a team member) with whom you can begin to use the PRES model?

Richard Kriegbaum writes a relevant prayer in his book, Leadership Prayers:

Leadership is hard to define. Lord, let us be the ones to define it with justice. Leadership is like a handful of water. Lord, let us be the people to share it with those who thirst. Leadership is not about watching and correcting. Lord, let us remember it is about listening and connecting. Leadership is not about telling people what to do. Lord, let us find out what people want. Leadership is less about the love of power and more about the power of love.

Dennis Nichols,  

Lead Faculty, M.A. in Christian in Leadership